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I have this feeling today, precarious and anticipatory, like riding on the edge of a precipice just before falling. I don't know if it's a confluence of events, or if it's a leftover from the benadryl that I took this morning to let me breathe so I could sleep.

Had a dream last night where I had to have an IV in my face. There was water sliding, there was nakedness and fun, but I couldn't partake because I was really beat up and recovering. I think someone was trying to kill me, and I was being put out there as bait.

Remastering the Pray for Daylight DVD. I've not gone so far as to re-encode all the files, I'm still using the .mpv and .ac3 files that I encoded previously-- they should work, as they are the same files from the last DVD burned that played properly. There are a couple of exceptions: I re-encoded the MMS logo in 16:9, and the slideshows are encoded at compile time.

What I've done is re-collected the media for the DVD into a better form. Essentially, all of the media is collected into a "media pool", then inserted into the various objects that you create in the DVD authoring package (movies, menus, etc.). You then link all of the objects together into the form that you want the final DVD to take.

I basically stripped the media pool down to only the stuff that was actually being used and brought it to the local hard drive, organized the pictures for the slideshows so they were in alphabetical order as I wanted them to play out (while you can change the order within the editor, if you pre-organize them, you can just load them and save yourself a lot of PITA time, particularly if you have to re-do the project).

Last time I built the DVD, I also was smart and exported the chapter mark file, so I could import it this time and save a buttload of time marking chapters. I need to investigate some different formats on the chapter mark files and see if there's one that actually exports chapter mark text with it. DVD architect has a feature with Vegas where you can mark regions, and the region title becomes the chapter title text, but DVD Lab Pro doesn't do this-- or at least not that directly. I still have to fine-adjust the marks, but it's a hell of a lot better than having to identify them all from scratch.

I like the way that DVD Lab Pro allows you to create buttons-- it's really versatile. You can create buttons with text, shapes, or regions with some nice drawing tools, and as long as you follow some relatively simple rules (like no overlapping), they just work. Assuming that you have all of your content imported, you create a button, right-click on it, and it brings up a menu of things that you can connect to. Select, and you are linked.

You can only create buttons on a menu. If you think about it, it makes sense, since on a DVD the only place that a user can make decisions is at specific points. With some clever programming, you can create movies in and out of those menu objects to make for some nifty transitions. I say clever programming, because to keep the switching transients out of the picture, you have to do it differently than you might assume-- there are actually PRE and POST event hooks for every object that you need to use to make it "seamless" (it can never be perfectly seamless because of the way DVD players work-- they very rarely cache anything that hasn't already been accessed, and even then they don't all cache the same way; some don't even cache at all).

Multiple audio tracks are a different animal entirely. Switching audio tracks is done by changing the value of a register in the Virtual Machine on the DVD (SPRM1 if you're keeping track).

I dunno, I find it kinda cool. Then again, I'm kinda weird.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 8th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
Good luck with that project. DVD authoring has bought me nothing but heartache and pain, but you know a hell of a lot more about it than I do.

I recently adopted a neat idea for combating the Sit At A Computer In Front of a Nightmare Project Until You Want to End Your Own Life syndrome. My alarm clock as a "nap" function, so I set it for 45 minutes. When it goes off I drop whatever I'm doing (NO MATTER WHAT!), stand up, reset the timer, and pour myself a new cup of tea or play with the cat for a couple minutes. It doesn't significantly detract from the project time, and it keeps me in a MUCH better mood.

There, I'm done dispensing un-asked-for advice. :)
Feb. 8th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
Good idea. I know from experience that I can work solidly for a two-hour block pretty well, but then I start hitting that 'questionable judgement' phase.

Of course, between the two cats and the dog, it's unlikely that I actually get a two-hour uninterrupted block.

I'm still learning a lot about DVD authoring. It's actually programming when you get down to the machine level-- there is even a scripting language built in-- and you can do all sorts of cool things with it.

Happy thing that I've found is that the Sonic Cineplayer will play directly from the first IFO block on the hard drive, so I don't have to burn a DVD to check the operation until I'm pretty sure it will work as I want it to.
Feb. 8th, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)
Ooooooh, that would be nice. We must have burned through AT LEAST 10 disks before we got a working copy of "Cope," and them things ain't cheap (particularly when you're in college).

I think the periodic interruption thing works for me because I'm a serious zoner. I can sit and work at something for four, even six, hours and not notice the time at all. Once I snap out of it, especially if I've come to a road block and am forced to go back or start something over or ask for help, it's like someone turned my cranky nob up to 11. And by then my mouse arm is numb, my legs are asleep, my back aches, my feet have swollen up, and I've got an eyestrain headache...none of which registered before I finally looked away from the screen and stood up.

Of course, if regular interruption is your particular problem...then this trick probably wouldn't work so well. :)
Feb. 8th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
In the forward of one of my LightWave training books, the team added a little warning to students:

"Get up and move. No matter what, stand up every two hours and go for a walk. Step outside. Breathe some fresh air. Not only is it healthy, but your work will get better for the break."

I'm really, really bad at following that advice, particularly with LightWave. One of my resolutions this year was to start doing exactly that.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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